Each June, the National Pony Express Association stages a commemorative ride for its members over the same path that the Pony Express traveled, with volunteer riders traveling 24/7 to get mail from St. Joseph, Missouri to Sacramento, California (or vice versa—they switch the route based on if it's an even or odd year) in 10 days. 11 Facts About the Pony Express. (Credit: Archive Photos/Getty Images). Pony Express Centennial Celebration 1960 USPS Stamp . APN — Home facts updated by county records on Dec 16, 2020. For all its financial troubles, the Pony Express didn’t truly collapse until a better alternative appeared on the scene. By contrast, only a handful of riders—six, according to the National Park Service—died in the line of duty during the entire history of the Pony Express. Anyone who's interested can pay $5 for a pre-printed commemorative letter or send their own personal letter for $10. Martin E. Ismert Collection - Kansas City, Missouri, A lobby card for a silent Western made in 1925. The Pony Express at its height included 183 riders, 165 way stations, and between 400 and 500 horses. They definitely learned something new in 2020. In 1862, Sir Richard Burton remembered stagecoach drivers hired by Majors and subject to the same oath in his book The City of the Saints: "I scarcely ever saw a sober driver; as for the profanity … they are not to be deterred from evil talking even by the dread presence of a 'lady.'". And one rider disappeared along his route never to be seen again. The Pony Express ceased service just two days later. See alsoMail, Overland, and Stagecoaches; Mail, Southern Overland. The Pony Express changed delivery forever. The National Park Service reports that four riders were killed on their way to deliver mail (some say that most of the employees killed by those ambushes were station masters, not riders, but at least one rider was killed during this period of conflict). Their average age was around 20, but it wasn’t unusual for teenagers as young as 14 to be hired. Weld County. The 20-year-old was scheduled to make his usual 75-mile run from Friday’s Station east to Buckland Station in Nevada. "It is highly unlikely that the Pony Express would be so well remembered had not Buffalo Bill so glamorized it," Russell wrote. Despite its enduring place in Old West legend, the Pony Express never turned a profit during its year and a half history. Instead, Congress effectively made the three founders (one of whom, Russell, had recently been indicted for fraud) hand over the western part of the route to the Overland Mail Company, a subsidiary of Wells Fargo [PDF] that already ran a different stagecoach route. About 200 relay stations were located along the route. But the Pony Express performances during his Wild West Show did significantly shape how history remembers the service. The system officially shuttered on October 26, 1861, and the last remaining mail was delivered soon after. To cut down on weight and facilitate swift horse and rider changes, the Pony Express used a special type of mailbag known as a “mochilla”—the Spanish word for knapsack. They not only had to buy hundreds of horses, but build enough stations that riders could change horses every 10 miles or so—meaning more than 150 stations across the West. Press play below for our fact-filled year in review. Pumpkinfest. Kids; Students; Scholars; Fundamentals NEW; 7-day free trial. It's not all about big-ticket electronics, either. This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. April 3, 1860 – October 24, 1861. On the latest episode of The List Show, Mental Floss editor-in-chief Erin McCarthy counts down (or up, rather) an epic list of 100 fascinating things we learned in 2020. In operation for only 18 months between April 1860 and October 1861, the Pony Express nevertheless has become synonymous with the Old West. By the time he finally returned to his home station, “Pony Bob” had traveled 380 miles in less than 40 hours—a Pony Express record. The riders carried mail from the Midwest to the West Coast in less than half the time a stagecoach could (24 days), and in a pinch, could go even faster. All Rights Reserved. Prices were later reduced to just $1, but they still remained too high for everyday mail. The Hollenberg Pony Express station at Hanover, Kansas. Beds — Baths — Finished Sq. The Pony Express was a fast mail service crossing the North American continent from St. Joseph, Missouri, to Sacramento, California from April 1860 to October 1861. Life, this page specializes in deals on pre-owned and open-box products and includes a range of categories like unlocked cellphones, video games, and kitchen gadgets. Login. Now virtual. Explore 10 interesting facts about the short-lived mail service that helped transform the American West. In less than eight days, riders reached California with the re… Tuesday Night Talks. Amazon deals aren't exclusive just to the holiday season, Black Friday, or Cyber Monday—if you go to the site's little-known Warehouse section, you'll find discounts on high-end items all year long. 14 Facts About Pony Express. To find Quick Facts on a particular topic, click on the appropriate tag in the sidebar. FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. They were trying to minimize the weight their horse had to carry in every way, including in their dress. "He carried nothing that was not absolutely necessary, for even the postage on his literary freight was worth five dollars a letter," he wrote. After a brief rest, he mounted a fresh horse and retraced his steps all the way back to Friday’s Station, at one point passing a relay outpost that had been burned by the Paiutes. Many of these products have been previously returned to Amazon by customers, and each item is given a 20-point inspection by employees before going back onto the site. When the other man refused to take the mail, Haslam jumped back in the saddle and rode on, eventually completing a 190-mile run before delivering his mochilla at Smith’s Creek. From Missouri, the route snaked through Kansas to Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada and then on to California, where it ended in Sacramento (the mail would then usually travel by boat to San Francisco). Twain wrote that each of these locked pouches would "hold about the bulk of a child's primer," but they could still fit a surprising amount of mail for their size, because to keep loads light (Major recalls a maximum of 10 pounds, while a former rider recalled 20), the mail was printed on thin tissue paper. Settle, Raymond W. The Pony Express: Heroic Effort, Tragic End. Pony Express Facts Dates. Pony Express Fact 2: Riders were kitted out with a pistol, a bugle, a rifle, gloves, boots and a Bible. Nevertheless, the Pony Express is well remembered in stories about the American West. In the era before easy mass communication, the Pony Express was the thread that tied East to West. January and February 2021 Family Day. Facts. It featured four padlocked pockets—three for mail and one for the rider’s timecard—and was capable of holding up to 20 pounds of cargo. The speed of the Pony Express didn’t come cheap. Majors had to find riders and substitutes (paid around $125 a month, according to his autobiography, or around $3500 today) as well as 200 station masters who could work in those remote locations, plus buy and deliver the supplies necessary to run the stations. 2020 also gave us dazzling, high-resolution photos of the sun, the truth about a massive fossil egg previously known as “The Thing,” and intriguing details about Britain’s most infamous 19th-century shipwreck. From there, you'll see whether or not the item is available from Amazon Warehouse. The name "Pony Express" evokes images of courageous young men crossing long stretches of country, frequently under harsh conditions, facing the constant threat of death. • California Senator William Gwin, who so championed a Northern route for mail service, deserted California after the Civil War broke out and joined the Confederacy. The introduction of the telegraph made the Pony Express unnecessary. Regular Business Hours Monday - Saturday: 9am to 5pm Sunday: 11am to 4pm . Fry is thought to be the first eastbound rider on the Pony Express. If you want even more deals, head on over to the Amazon Coupon page. Pony Express rider crossing hostile country between St Joseph, Missouri, and San Francisco. Nevertheless, the Pony Express has become synonymous with the Old West. The Pony Express. Despite operating for only 19 months, its riders had successfully delivered some 35,000 pieces of mail and traveled more than half a million miles across the American frontier. A map of the Pony Express route by artist William Henry Jackson. Their Central Overland California & Pike's Peak Express Company, parent company to the Pony Express, would take such hard losses from operating the extra-fast route that it would be nicknamed "Clean Out of Cash and Poor Pay.". Pony Express - Pony Express - Final days: Technological advancement—namely, the completion of the transcontinental telegraph line in October 1861—was the immediate cause of the demise of the Pony Express, but many other factors contributed to its downfall, not least its parent company’s relentlessly deteriorating financial condition. Vocabulary. Redfin Estimate. Interesting Facts about the Pony Express . In 2010, Corbett told NPR that in the few first-person accounts available in the historical record, original riders remembered the dangers of freezing during winter rides, especially if you strayed off the trail. Please join us in 2021! Pony Express riders didn't just throw a standard mail bag over the back of their saddle. Messages were carried on horseback relay across the prairies, plains, deserts, and mountains of the Western United States. APPLY, PONY EXPRESS STABLES St. Joseph, Missouri. The Paiute War between Native Americans and white settlers in modern-day Nevada and Utah did affect service during the spring and summer of 1860 though. They had mochilas designed specially for the Pony Express—ones that look nothing like some of the products now sold as "Pony Express saddlebags." With riders traveling at an average pace of 10 miles per hour around the clock, the 1966-mile route passed through eight modern-day states in 10 days. Pony Express Fact 1: Riders were given a uniform of red shirts and blue pants but these were often discarded and replaced with buckskins. If you aren't the pony-riding type, you can travel the trail in other ways, like running the 100-mile endurance race held along parts of the trail in Utah each year. Launched in April 1860, it operated for less than 19 months before the first trans-continental telegraph line was completed, connecting California to East Coast cities, no ponies necessary. & P.P. Nuisance: something that is annoying or troublesome; Impact: to strongly affect . In the mid-19th century, California-bound mail had to either be taken overland by a 25-day stagecoach or spend months inside a ship during a long sea voyage. Pony Express Museum Day Camp. Part of a mural by Frank Albert Mechau, Jr. called ”Pony Express" in the Ariel Rios Federal Building in Washington, D.C. The Pony Express only existed for a brief period of eighteen months before electronic communications took over. Alexander Majors, alongside co-founders William Russell and William Waddell, had just two months to get the Pony Express up and running—a more complicated task than it might sound. In its early days the service cost $5 for every half-ounce of mail—the equivalent of some $130 today. This consisted of a leather cover that was draped over the saddle and held in place by the rider’s weight. Redfin Estimate for 414 Pony Express Trl. According to Christopher Corbett, author of the 2003 book Orphans Preferred: The Twisted Truth and Lasting Legend of the Pony Express, the real danger along the route was the cold, not violence. Telegraphs could be sent much faster and with less expense. Nancy A.Pope. While that sounds a little steep compared to today's stamp, the company still lost $30—a whopping $830 today—for every letter transported, according to the Postal Museum. The Pony Express, meanwhile, had an average delivery time of just 10 days. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. The Pony Express was a system that delivered mail on horseback between Missouri and California . Lone horsemen would ride between stations at breakneck pace, switching mounts every 10-15 miles and then handing their cargo off to a new courier after 75-100 miles. There are even deals on sought-after video games like The Last of Us Part IIfor PlayStation 4 for half the original price. The government did fund the Pony Express during its later months—just not through Russell, Majors, and Waddell. Pony Express co-founder Alexander Majors asked each of his employees to take an oath saying that they wouldn't curse, drink, or fight. Upcoming Events. In his 1979 biography of the showman, Don Russell argues that he was, in fact, probably a rider, but that Cody undoubtedly made the Pony Express into a legend whether he was there or not. Route. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us! Accounts of the types of horses used by the Pony Express vary; in his 1893 autobiography, Pony Express co-founder Alexander Majors wrote that "The horses were mostly half-breed California mustangs, as alert and energetic as their riders, and their part in the service sure-footed and fleet was invaluable." The National Pony Express Association (NPEA) is an all-volunteer, historical organization with the purpose of identifying, re-establishing and marking the original pony express trail from St. Joseph, Missouri, via Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada and into California. The Pony Express operated from April 3, 1860, to October 26, 1861; the last run was completed Nov. 21, 1861. The Pony Express, meanwhile, had an average delivery time of just 10 days. Stay tuned for more information! The stations were about 10 miles apart, and at every station, they changed horses, swapping out their steeds up to 10 times a ride; the whole enterprise involved about 400 horses. Liquor flowed freely at relief stations, and an eyewitness named Richard Burton reported that he “scarcely ever saw a sober rider.”, Mochilla saddle used by Pony Express riders. BY Shaunacy Ferro. Rather than burly cowboys, most of the riders were small, wiry men who weighed between 100 and 125 pounds—roughly the same size as a modern horseracing jockey. Many were located in remote sections of the frontier, making them extremely vulnerable to ambush. In May 1860, Robert “Pony Bob” Haslam took off on the most legendary ride in Pony Express history. There are plenty of myths surrounding the historic mail delivery service, and much of what we're taught about the Pony Express in school isn't quite right. Pony Express riders. Initially, the going rate for Pony Express transport was $5 ($138 in today's money) for every half ounce of mail. It was a short-lived enterprise, however. Twain goes on to say that the rider was unarmed. New York: Cooper Square, 1971. Accounts differ, but Indians reportedly attacked or burned several relay stations during the Pyramid Lake War in the summer of 1860, killing as many as 16 stock hands. The Pony Express was forced to close after the opening of the transcontinental telegraph. However, here are some facts you probably don’t know: The official name of the Pony Express was The Central Overland, California and Pikes Peak Express Company. Pony Express Station, Gothenburg Picture: Pony Express quick facts - Check out Tripadvisor members' 448 candid photos and videos. In his autobiography, the famed frontier showman William “Buffalo Bill” Cody claimed that he served as a Pony Express rider at the age of 14. Don’t worry, it’s not all about zoonotic diseases and the efficacy of face masks. Postmark, Pony Express, 1860. Although operational for only 18 months, the Pony Express was extremely efficient and could deliver messages between the Pacific and the Atlantic coasts of the US in about ten days. William H. Russell, William B. Waddell, Alexander Majors. It’s the only one still standing on its original site with its original dimensions. (Credit: Buyenlarge/Getty Images). Pony Post, Lithograph. The Pony Express was a mail service delivering messages, newspapers, and mail using relays of horse-mounted riders that operated from April 3, 1860, to October 26, 1861, between Missouri and California in the United States of America. Success: Proved the Central Route could be traveled all year round. I will be adding to these as I read through more sources. Founders. The National Park Service reports that one other rider died in an accident and two froze to death, while other accounts add that at least a few riders died after being thrown from their horses. At each relief station, riders would simply grab the mochilla off one mount and then throw it over the next, allowing them to switch horses in the span of just two minutes. And they probably didn't take the whole "no cursing" rule very seriously either. Ft. — Stories — Lot Size — Style. The first Pony Express rider left California, headed towards Missouri, in April, 1860. The last rider completed his route on October 24, 1861, just 19 months after the Pony Express began. Buffalo Bill Cody. Explore articles from the History Net archives about Pony Express » See all Pony Express Articles. On April 3, 1860, in St. Joseph, Missouri, a young rider (probably) named Johnny Fry stuffed a mail pouch containing 49 letters, five telegrams, and other various papers into a tailor-made saddle pack and dashed off on his horse, Sylph, heading west. To uncover all the amazing deals you never knew about, head over to Amazon’s Warehouse section. The Mochila . 11 Facts About The Pony Express Mental Floss Author: media.ctsnet.org-Stefan Fruehauf-2020-09-15-09-41-04 Subject: 11 Facts About The Pony Express Mental Floss Keywords: 11 Facts About The Pony Express Mental Floss,Download 11 Facts About The Pony Express Mental Floss,Free download 11 Facts About The Pony Express Mental Floss,11 Facts About The Pony Express Mental Floss PDF Ebooks, … As pointed out by Yahoo! During its short and fiery career, it delivered mail at what for those days was breathtaking speed. But as Mark Twain, he got a whole chapter of "Roughing It" out of the meeting. Pricey kitchen gadgets are also available for less, including the Keurig Single Cup K-Select Coffee Maker discounted 28 percent and the Instant Pot Duo Nova 7-in-1 Pressure Cooker discounted 25 percent. The eastern part of the route may have also used breeds like Morgans and Thoroughbreds (now best known for their use in horse racing). Historians disagree on whether or not there's enough reliable evidence to prove whether or not he worked for the operation, which only employed about 80 men (plus substitutes), according to the National Park Service. Knowing the service wouldn't be financially stable without it, the founders hoped to secure a government contract for their mail route, but just a few months after the launch, Congress passed a bill to subsidize the construction of a transcontinental telegraph line. The Pony Express began in 1860 and only existed for eleven months, however, almost every American has heard about this early way of delivering the mail. During its peak, it provided employed approximately 6,000 staff and owned thousands of oxen, wagons, warehouses, and other assets. The company’s personal best came in March 1861, when riders carried the inaugural address of Abraham Lincoln from Nebraska to California in just seven days, 17 hours. Pony Express Facts for kids. The Pony Express was in operation for only 18 months between April 1860 and October 1861. The Pony Express was by far the most effective way to communicate cross-country at the time—at least until the telegraph came along. Though hailed in the press for its efficiency and adventurous spirit, the Pony Express eventually folded in October 1861, having lost as much as $200,000. From 1860 to 1862, men on horseback rode as Pony Express riders, delivering mail back and forth between the East and West. Operating from the end of existing telegraph lines at St. Joseph, Missouri, to Sacramento, California, it carried messages in about ten days. (When the Pony Express began, only Missouri and California were officially states.) Contrary to his wishes, his riders likely ignored him. The first riders left from Sacramento and St. Joseph on April 3, 1860. The company began making deliveries in April 1860, but service ground to a halt just a few weeks later when the Pyramid Lake War erupted between the United States and the Paiute Indians. More than 750 riders take part, carrying up to 1000 letters in total. The Pony Express was born. Some creative types have claimed the initials C.O.C. A new study explained why they’re probably just rumors. He even alleged that he once rode a record 384 miles in a single run. The Pony Express: the Record of a Romantic Adventure in Business. An ad placed in San Francisco on behalf of Wells, Fargo & Company in 1861, after the company took control of the Pony Express and lowered rates. This slider cycles through all of the Quick Facts in random order. The temporary shutdown cost the company some $75,000, and it continued to hemorrhage cash over the next few months due to high operations costs and its failure to secure a government mail contract. Samuel Clemens had an encounter of less than two minutes with a Pony Express rider on a trip out West. Poster from the Pony Express, advertising fast mail delivery to San Francisco. (Credit: Public Domain). The Pony Express was a system of U.S. mail delivery made by horse-and-rider relays that took place from April 1860 to October 1861. Pony Express began operation on April 3, 1860, and lasted just 18 months. "He simply liked to insert himself into history," as Buffalo Bill researcher Sandra Sagala wrote on the Smithsonian National Postal Museum's website in 2011, and there's evidence [PDF] that he was elsewhere during the times he claimed to be riding for the Pony Express. And, like so many legendary events of the "Old West," there have been wild exaggerations of the facts. Their outposts were usually crude, dirt floor hovels equipped with little more than sleeping quarters and corrals for the horses. (Credit: Universal History Archive/Getty Images). Hours of Operation. If it had to go by ship, it would take months. The company had spent its brief history bridging the gap between the Eastern and Western telegraph lines, but it was finally rendered obsolete on October 24, 1861, when Western Union completed the transcontinental telegraph line at Salt Lake City. The lesson titled Pony Express Facts: Lesson for Kids delivers more details if you are interested in learning more. A Pony Express letter carried from San Francisco to New York in 12 days in June 1861, Instant Pot Duo Nova 7-in-1 Pressure Cooker. © 2020 A&E Television Networks, LLC. • The Pony Express company had only 60 days to get the system underway, from hiring riders to buying up to 500 horses to building 138 relay stations. We are a non-profit 501(c) (3) Association. From St. Joseph, Missouri, to Sacramento, California the Pony Express could deliver a letter faster than ever before. Pony Express riders typically rode for 75 to 100 miles at a stretch, but they changed horses many times over the course of their journey to ensure that their steeds could go as fast as possible. Thousands of people moved west on the Oregon and California Trails … Winter Business … Western Union completed the transcontinental telegraph line. Pony Express riders had to deal with extreme weather conditions, harsh terrain and the threat of attacks by bandits and Indians, but life may have been even more dangerous for the stock keepers who manned the relief stations. You can pause a slide by hovering your mouse over the Fact. Since speed was its main goal, the Pony Express went to great lengths to keep its horses’ loads as light as possible. Search. The relay system allowed mail to criss-cross the frontier in record time. First of all, the leather-bound Bibles he wanted them to carry would have weighed riders down, when the whole point was to travel as lightly as possible to maximize speed. (Credit: Farbman/Getty Images). 2000 miles, between St. Joseph Missouri and Sacramento, California. The Pony Express plays a bit of an oversized role in the popular imagination, considering how long it actually existed. The Pony Express National Historic Trail was authorized by Congress in 1992 and is administered by the National Park Service and managed by the Bureau of Land Management, USDA … (Credit: Public Domain). For more videos like this one, subscribe to the Mental Floss YouTube channel here. Pony Express riders were expected to be stand-up citizens, despite their later reputation as rough-and-tumble frontiersmen. A collection of historical tidbits about the Pony Express taken mostly from books, except as otherwise noted. (Credit: Public Domain). Designed to be easy to transfer from horse to horse during the minutes-long station stops, these leather covers fit over the saddle so that the rider was sitting on top of the leather, with mail pouches on either side of their legs. In Roughing It, Mark Twain (who, we should note, was not always known for his adherence to the truth) described seeing a rider for the Pony Express speed by wearing clothes that were "thin, and fitted close; he wore a 'round-about,' and a skull-cap, and tucked his pantaloons into his boot-tops like a race-rider.". Twice a week we compile our most fascinating features and deliver them straight to you. There are also essential items every house needs like Ziploc bags and Glad trash bags. (Items like these are simply open-box products and have never been used.) Instead, the service was mainly used to deliver newspaper reports, government dispatches and business documents, most of which were printed on tissue-thin paper to keep costs (and weight) down. The company that started the Pony Express also lost lots of money. However, those steeds may not have been ponies in the proper sense—by definition, ponies are small breeds of horse under 4.8 feet tall. The Hollenberg Pony Express station near Hanover, Kansas is the most intact Pony Express station left. Single Family Residential. Pony Express Articles. And as for those centuries-old rumors that Renaissance painter Raphael died of syphilis? The Pony Express was founded by William H. Russell, Alexander Majors, and William B. Waddell, who ran a transportation company taking freight, mail, and passengers by stagecoach across the American West before they launched the Pony Express. It was important for the riders to be light so the ponies could carry both a rider and heavy bags of mail, at a gallop, for many miles. (Credit: Universal History Archive/Getty Images), In exchange for their $100-150 monthly salaries—a substantial sum for the time—Pony Express riders were expected to take a loyalty oath that read: “I do hereby swear, before the Great and Living God, that during my engagement, and while an employee of Russell, Majors and Waddell, I will, under no circumstances, use profane language, that I will drink no intoxicating liquors, that I will not quarrel or fight with any other employee of the firm, and that in every respect I will conduct myself honestly, be faithful to my duties, and so direct all my acts as to win the confidence of my employers, so help me God.” Those who broke the rules risked being dismissed without pay, but it appears that few Pony Express employees followed the pledge to the letter. Stations with fresh horses were set up every 10 miles and riders typically rode 200 miles in each shift. A note sent via the Pony Express. And the service's most famous rider, Buffalo Bill Cody, may not have even been a rider at all. Before the Pony Express, if you sent a letter from somewhere on the east coast to California, it would take upwards of 25 days. Their rides marked the launch of the famous Pony Express, the remarkable mail system that carried correspondence and news across the western United States at breakneck speed in the days before the transcontinental telegraph and the transcontinental railroad.

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